FROM COLIN BARNETT:
It’s very sad to see the damage caused by the extraordinary weather in WA over recent days.
This afternoon I met with business owners in the Swan Valley where it has had a dramatic impact, as well as the effect on parts of the Kimberley, the Pilbara, the Gascoyne, Mid-West areas and the south coastal areas.
There’s a lot of repairs to be carried out and the total cost of the damage is yet to be estimated but right now, particularly on the south coast, all the efforts are on making roads safe again.
In the Swan Valley an enormous volume of water has flowed from the hinterland and probably caused the biggest flood in about 20 years.
Many of the grape producers here have lost a significant about of their grape crop, damage to their vines and some have lost virtually everything.
It’s expected to be declared a natural disaster and that triggers both the Commonwealth and State Governments to work with local governments to immediately repair infrastructure damage, such as roads and bridges.
There will also be assistance for businesses like the grape producers in the Swan Valley in the form of grants to help in cleaning up and the ability to access low-interest loans if it’s necessary to rebuild the business or in this case re-establish the vineyards.
As the clean-up continues and water levels remain high I urge people to be very careful and not drive across any flooded creeks or spillways.